Plenty of the hottest celebrities grew up as adorable tomboys. But for every little girl with pigtails and skinned knees who grew up to become a sexy pop star, there’s another who played dress up and dreamed of being a princess. Of course, it’s not hard to believe that some of the all-time sexiest icons are composed of sugar, spice and everything nice, particularly considering how good they look in a dress and heels. What we call “Girly girls” are known to be pretty, sweet, and plenty sassy. After all, they’ve been attracting boys since they slipped on their first pair of patent-leather Mary Janes.
Still, other sexy starlets only appeared to be Girly girls when they were growing up. While they presented in curls and bows, they could have actually been playing in the dirt during their down time. Or maybe, like countless little girls throughout time, some celebs embraced two sides of their personalities: one feminine and one… well… not-so-feminine. Maybe they loved playing with dolls just as much as they enjoyed playing ball.
Regardless of how they dressed in their own backyard, public perception relies on visualization. Therefore, little girls who dress the part on our screens are generally thought of as Girly girls, particularly when it comes to child stars. But now that they’re all grown up, only one thing’s for certain- these little girls grew up to be smokin’ hot.
Want to know which of your favorite celebs grew up playing princess? Check out our list of 10 Girly girls who turned out really hot:
10. Tatyana Ali
While she got her start in show business on Sesame Street, most of the world came to know Tatyana Ali in the role she made famous, youngest daughter Ashley Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Adored by her parents and her cousin Will, Ashley was a sweet portrait of a school girl when the series launched Ali’s career 1990. Her character was the epitome of 11-year-old innocence in ribbons and knee socks, and America literally watched her grow up before its eyes, ultimately transforming into the sexy vixen Ali is today. Since The Fresh Prince wrapped in 1996, Ali has recorded two albums and appeared in roles on both the big and small screens.
9. Hayden Panettiere
While she’s been working since she was just 11-months-old, and her first major roles were as precocious youngsters on the daytime soap operas One Life to Live and Guiding Light, Hayden Panettiere first came to national attention as teenage cheerleader Claire Bennett in 2006’s Heroes. And although her character was actually a miraculously regenerating crime fighter, a cheerleader is still about as girly a girl can get. In fact, Panettiere even claimed in a 2007 interview that her roles have often been limited because, “people look at [her] as either the popular cheerleader type or just the blonde.” Today, Panettiere is better known as the ultra-girly and super-sexy songstress Juliette Barnes on the ABC musical drama, Nashville.
8. Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst gained widespread recognition as the young vampire Claudia in 1994’s Interview with the Vampire, a role for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. Dunst’s next major role was as the youngest and girliest March sister, Amy, in 1994’s Little Women, helping to cement the public association of Dunst with girliness. Other roles, such as a beautiful yet troubled virgin in 1999’s The Virgin Suicides and a head cheerleader in 2000’s Bring It On, only added to the perception. It’s no wonder then, that the sexy star was selected to play damsel in distress Mary Jane Watson in 2002’s Spiderman.
7. Selena Gomez
Born and raised in Grand Prairie, Texas, the adorable Selena Gomez was first featured on the children’s series Barney & Friends in the early 2000s. Before being selected to appear on the series in 2002 when she was 10, Gomez appeared in a variety of beauty pageants, and photos of the child star during that period are absolutely saccharine with girly sweetness. Gomez has since graduated from a talented Disney actress to a sexy Latina pop star who has not only graced the small and large screens, but also flaunted her femininity in a Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
6. Natalie Wood
Star of the silver screen, Natalie Wood first worked in films as a child before becoming a successful Hollywood actress as a young adult, receiving three Academy Award nominations before her 25th birthday. While Wood is well known for her roles in Splendor in the Grass, From Here to Eternity, Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story, the world first fell in love with her at the tender age of 9 when in 1947 she co-starred in the Christmas classic A Miracle on 34th Street. Named 1950’s “Child Star of the Year,” Wood successfully transitioned from child actress to teen ingenue with a variety of roles in the 1950s as the actress matured into the sexy starlet she is now remembered as.
5. Liz Taylor
The world-famous actress, businesswoman and philanthropist got her start as a breathtaking child actress in the early 1940s, before becoming one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s. Elizabeth Taylor successfully continued her career into the 1960s and remained a well-known public figure for the rest of her life. The American Film Institute even named Taylor the seventh all-time greatest female screen legend in 1999. After her family moved from the UK to Los Angeles in 1939 when she was just 7, Taylor, noted for her beauty, was given a film contract by Universal Pictures in 1941. Later signed by MGM, she became one of the studio’s most popular teenage stars before successfully transitioning to a sultry adult actress, earning a record-breaking $1 million salary for her portrayal of the regally sexy title role in 1963’s Cleopatra. Before her 2011 death, the sex symbol was married eight times to seven different men.
4. Jennifer Love Hewitt
An incredibly sexy actress, producer, author, television director and singer-songwriter, Jennifer Love Hewitt began her acting career as a child, appearing in television commercials and on the Disney Channel series Kids Incorporated. When she was just 3, a cutie-patootie Love Hewitt sang “The Greatest Love of All” at a livestock show, and by the age of 5 the Girly girl added tap dancing and ballet to her portfolio. She later toured the Soviet Union as a member of the Texas Show Team and won the title of “Texas Our Little Miss Talent Winner,” before moving to Los Angeles with her mother to pursue a career in both acting and singing. There, Love Hewitt rose to fame with roles in Fox’s Party of Five and the Hollywood hit I Know What You Did Last Summer. Now a successful adult actress, Love Hewitt was identified as the reader’s top choice on the November 1999 and May 2009 covers of Maxim, and TV Guide even named her the sexiest woman on television in 2008.
3. Drew Barrymore
A member of one of America’s most famous acting families, Drew Barrymore won countless hearts with her portrayal of little sister Gertie in Steven Spielberg’s 1982 smash hit ET: The Extra Terrestrial. One of Hollywood’s most famous child actors in the 1980s, Barrymore made multiple appearances at the Academy Awards and other industry events in the girliest and frilliest of evening gowns. Of course, the Hollywood industry can be difficult for children to navigate, and Barrymore met her share of childhood trauma, characterized by the abuse of drugs and alcohol (leading to two stints in rehab) before successfully transitioning to an adult actress with dramatic roles in Poison Ivy, Bad Girls, Boys on the Side and Scream, and leading roles in romcoms such as The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. While she was at it, Barrymore was featured in a series of sensual ads for Guess Jeans in the 90s.
2. Christina Aguilera
Before she took the world by storm with the 1999 hit Genie in a Bottle, even before she stole America’s hearts during her two-season stint on the Disney Channel’s The All-New Mickey Mouse Club, an adorable Christina Aguilera, dressed in the sweetest black dress with a bow in her blonde hair, impressed audiences with her talented pipes on Star Search. Although she didn’t win in that first taste of show business, Aguilera had plenty of admirers in those early years as she grew into her career. She really smoked up the big screen when she starred alongside Cher in 2010’s Burlesque.
1. Brooke Shields
Possibly the girliest child star of all time, Brooke Shields appeared in her first commercial at just 11-months-old in 1966. In fact, her mother announced her child was destined for stardom when Shields was just 5-days-old, enrolling her daughter in feminine activities such as ballet, piano, and horseback-riding lessons. Shields was such as beautiful little girl that, after working as a child model for a decade, she was cast as a 12-year-old prostitute in 1978’s Pretty Baby. By 1980, the 14-year-old Shields was the youngest fashion model ever to appear on the cover of Vogue, and she also began appearing in a controversially-sexy print and TV ad campaign for Calvin Klein jeans. In fact, in 2009 Shields became embroiled in controversy when nude photos of the actress when she was just 10 were put on display at London’s Tate Modern. The photograph was originally taken in 1975 with her mother’s consent, but she and Shields later lost a legal battle to prevent it being republished.